Sunday, December 21, 2014

MedicalConspiracies- Hot Potato? A New Genetically Engineered Spud May Be Headed Your Way

Hot Potato? A New Genetically Engineered Spud May Be Headed Your Way
by Amy Reiter in News, November 12th, 2014

Comments (2)

PotatoesA genetically engineered potato may be on its way to your dinner
plate, not to mention your chip bag and french fry packet.

On Friday, the Department of Agriculture approved the commercial
planting of a new variety of spud specially modified to resist bruising
and contain less of a possibly cancer-causing chemical, acrylamide, that
is produced when a potato is fried. Whether that's a good or bad thing
depends on whom you ask.

Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist at the advocacy group the Center
for Food Safety, has expressed concern about the genetically engineered
(GE) potato and the technique used to produce it, RNA interference,
calling USDA approval hasty, "riddled with holes" and "extremely

"We simply don't know enough about RNA interference technology to
determine whether GE crops developed with it are safe for people and the
environment," Gurian-Sherman said in a statement. "If this is an attempt
to give crop biotechnology a more benign face, all it has really done is
expose the inadequacies of the U.S. regulation of GE crops."

Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director at the consumer group
Center for Science in the Public Interest, was more optimistic. "We
support clearly trying to reduce consumers' exposure to acrylamide and
if this product helps do that, I think it's a benefit," he told The New
York Times.

Clearly, a bruise-resistant potato appeals to companies as a potential
bottom-line booster. But because of its purported potential health
benefits, this tuber, developed by food and agribusiness giant J.R.
Simplot Company, McDonald's original french fry supplier, could appeal
to consumers as well as one of a new crop of genetically modified foods
to take this tack, in what may be a canny attempt to sidestep concerns
about GMO foods.

It's still unclear whether large restaurant chains and food companies
will embrace these new GE potatoes, especially because it would take
some time before supplies could meet such large-scale demand. Some GMO
food opponents are already asking McDonald's not to use them. Instead,
grocery store and food-service sales, as well as potato-chip makers, may
be the first step, the Times reports.

But the Center for Food Safety notes in a release that because labeling
of GE foods is currently — in most cases — not required by law,
consumers may soon find themselves buying the new GE potatoes without
even being aware of it.

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